Like many of you, I had a pretty sizable comic book collection in my younger years. And like many of you, I have absolutely no idea what happened to it. I remember some of the books I had. This one, pictured below, is said to be worth $75.00 to $100.00 these days.
Another comic I remember, the circa 1977 debut issue of the new hero Black Lightning, is currently going for up to $285.00.
So I might not have been able to pay for college had I sold off some of those books, but I think that I had a pretty respectable collection. It would have been nice to still have all those books, but they are now… who knows where. They are likely dust in the wind at this point.
Cut to many years later. My own children are now older than when I bought the aforementioned comics. We would sometimes go to one of the comic shops near my home. We usually treated ourselves to a theater trip when one of the big new superhero movies came out. In short: casual fans.
We were all out and about one day when we ventured into one of the aforementioned shops. The friendly proprietor informed us that the next Saturday would be “Batman Day” (I’m of the school of thought that every day is Batman Day, but whatever). He would have some grab bags for sale. $25.00 for around $70.00 worth of comics, graphic novels, and other merchandise.
I bought one, as did each of my twins. The shop owner wasn’t kidding when said that there would be north of $70.00 of value in that bag. I found a couple of hardcover graphic novels, a paperback edition of Frank Miller’s classic, The Dark Knight Returns, along with a number of comics and other items. One of the comics in my grab bag was this one:
I have long been a huge Batman fan, so I read this one right away. The issue ended on a rather intriguing cliffhanger, so I soon acquired the next issue. And the one after that. And the one after-- (okay, as of this writing we are up to issue #14). I soon started buying All-Star Batman, Detective Comics, Batman Beyond, and Nightwing.
You may have noticed the DC Comics Rebirth banner atop the Batman cover. The DC Rebirth is a reboot/ reset/ initiative for the bulk of the DC Comics line. This reboot was about more than just book numbering… it was a rebirth of, as the powers that be at DC put it, ”optimism and legacy”.
The Rebirth branding also had some resonance for me personally. It was, obviously, a rebirth of my comic collecting hobby. I always had some comics around, odds and ends that I picked up here and there. I began frequenting my nearby shops, particularly on new release day. I started bagging and boarding my collection, and organized my books as well.
Collecting comics seems at once familiar and new. My inner pre-teen self is thrilled, while my adult side appreciates the opportunity to explore something new (ish). In addition, it certainly doesn’t hurt that my fifteen year old twins have also started collecting (anytime you can find an activity or interest you can share with your teenagers, YOU DO IT).
The storylines have been excellent as well. The multi-part “Night of the Monster Men” arc, played out over issues of Batman, Detective Comics, and Nightwing, was dramatic and action-packed. It had a great ending that solidified Batman’s place as my favorite hero.
“Night of the Monster Men” was followed up with “I Am Suicide”, another intense, multi-part storyline that took a deep (and dark) dive into Batman’s psychology.
All of the books that I have read so far have been compelling, well-written, and a lot of fun. Much of the art is spectacular too, as evidenced by this suitable for framing cover art…
So, of course, I’m thoroughly enjoying the stories and characters that I have been following. It’s also fun to stop in to the various comic book shops to pick up new issues and search for the pieces to fill the gaps in my collection. I am fortunate in that live within mere blocks of three different shops. Each one is different, and each one has its own charms. My kids and I frequent them all. It’s very easy to stop in to one or the other on the way to somewhere else, or walk to one on an otherwise lazy Saturday afternoon.
I couldn’t be happier that the DC Universe Rebirth initiative parallels my own rebirth of sorts as a comic collector. I can’t say exactly why I drifted away from comics, but I’m glad to be back.